Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported that a long-range polar trial of an electric truck in partnership with carmaker Volvo and miner Kaunis Iron has succeeded despite extreme temperatures that reached -32 degrees centigrade at points.
The trial saw battery-powered Volvo FMX truck transport a 14-tonne truckload of iron ore ‘sludge' across 280km in Sweden's frozen north.
The vehicle left from a base in Junosuando to the mine in Kaunisvaara, and then unloaded its cargo in Pitkäjärvi, where the ore was transferred to rail for onward transport to Narvik.
The pilot follows an environmental study by Kaunis Iron that focused on finding methods to reduce emissions from the heavy truck transportation of ore from Pajala to railway stations. The project is part of a letter of intent signed by Kaunis Iron and Vattenfall to develop electrified fossil-free mining operations.
The company noted that the battery's range still presented a challenge, and that it needed to recharge at both the mine and transfer station, in order to guarantee sufficient range to make the return leg of the journey.
"Now that the basic premise of heavy hauling in extremely low temperatures has been proven, this experiment will function as a launchpad for future research to continue on developing more durable batteries and faster charging systems," said Vattenfall.
The driving experience itself was another positive outcome of the test, said the driver. "This new truck is so quiet, you cannot hear the ‘engine', even when under heavy loads. And the vibrations are way less noticeable than with a diesel vehicle, so it's without doubt a more convenient work environment to operate in," said driver Lino Martino.
As Mining Magazine reported in January, ABB has also provided three 175 kW chargers, while Vattenfall and local trucking firm Wist Last & Buss are providing support.